Nicholas Christopher is the author of four previous novels, The Soloist, Veronica, A Trip to the Stars, and Franklin Flyer, eight books of poetry, and a book about film noir, Somewhere in the Night. He lives in New York City.
From its opening at the "improbable point where Waverly Place intersects Waverly Place," this phantasmagorical novel leads you on a magical mystery tour of Manhattan. Leo, the hero, is drawn into a family's attempt to reconnect (literally) with their magician father, who has been hijacked to a kind of limbo for the past ten years by a jealous apprentice. If you can suspend belief and accept time travel, arm-severing hoods, stairways that disappear as you walk down them, and twins with mirror-symmetrical eyes (one who looks 30, the other, 80), you will enjoy this ride. Christopher, who also writes short stories and poetry (Five Degrees and Other Poems, Penguin 1995), builds his world‘rather, worlds‘with a wealth of detail. Sometimes the characterization is weak, but this is not a tale of Sturm und Drang‘it is a novel of incidents and magic. "A good lock when it's opened should sound like a pair of stones clicking underwater," the title character says early in this novel. Indeed, Christopher has unlocked a rich fantasy world that, despite being dangerous, is extremely enticing. Insert the key, strike the stones, read this book. Recommended for all fiction collections.‘Doris Lynch, Monroe Cty. P. L., Bloomington, Ind.
Contemporary New York becomes a shadowy hub of interdimensional travel in this wildly imaginative, postmodern tale of magic, mystery, murder and romance. On a snowy streetcorner in lower Manhattan, Leo, a 30-year-old freelance photographer, meets elusive, strangely beautiful Veronica, a magician's daughter and assistant. Lured to see her again, he is swept into a mystically disjointed world. Veronica's father disappeared during an ambitious time-travel demonstration sabotaged by Starwood, a jealous former apprentice who's now a dangerous practitioner of black magic. Veronica and a small group of family and friends have spent the last 10 years preparing to bring her father back from his limbo, and the bewildered Leo will be an important part of their perilous plan. Poet (5*) and novelist (The Soloist, 1986) Christopher's wryly evocative prose is laden with magical symbols and motifs drawn from Tibetan mysticism as well as European traditions. Dramatic imagery and swift pacing draw the reader into a bizarre but alluring mystery. Having researched Manhattan's subterranean water supplies and other invisible components of the city, Christopher creates a new, not quite fantastic map of the Big Apple. This darkly seductive tale maintains a dreamy urgency that keeps the reader intrigued until its poignant, hypnotic conclusion. (Jan.)
"Black and white magic, time travel, the choicer arcane of Tibetan Buddhism, and a titanic struggle to the death at the top of the Empire State Building...Satisfying as the storytelling is, though, the deeper pleasures here stem from the author's imaginative and idiosyncratic scholarship, by means of which the uncanny is made to seem commonplace and the commonplace unfathomable." --New Yorker
"The hard-boiled detective novel meets The Tibetan Book of
the Dead...Veronica is a dramatic literary achievement
unlike anything else in contemporary American fiction." --Edward
Hirsch "Hip, sexy...superbly lyrical...a novel in which anything
can happen."--New York Times Book Review